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June 2012

The Queer Issue III

This month we present our third issue of queer literature from around the world. The writers we've selected stake new claims on familiar themes, and unearth insight in unaccustomed places, illuminating the global LGBT experience through their work. Uruguay's Cristina Peri Rossi lets us in on a psychologist's thoughts on love and fading youth, while Alonso Sanchez Baute's narrator is sideswiped by the news of Gianni Versace's death. Cuban writer Mabel Cuesta combines memories of early love and new traditions, while Dominican poet Frank Baez follows the Marilyn Monroe of Santo Domingo to New York City. Bangladesh's Shaheen Akhtar provides a charm against dreams of snakes. South Korea's Kim Bi shows us a young girl struggling with the world's response to her father. Israel's Ilana Zeffren confides in a household friend about her partner, Algerian poet Jean Sénac explores the intersection of love and country, and Salvador Novo gives us a glimpse into the untold lives of gay writers and artists in post-Revolutionary Mexico. 


Elsewhere, we feature poetry from Myanmar from poets Lyn Swe Aye, Tin Moe, and Myo Myint Swe, and also offer up the haunting conclusion of our serial publication of Sakumi Tayama's “The Hole in the Garden.” 



The Marilyn Monroe of Santo Domingo
By Frank Baez
I’m the Marilyn Monroe of Santo Domingo. I’m six foot four. Two inches more when I wear high heels. I have a beauty spot on my butt.   I date poets from the eighties. I date handymen,…
Translated from Spanish by Hoyt Rogers
Ne Me Quitte Pas
By Cristina Peri Rossi
Seventeen years old: a terrible age for studying. A terrible age for anything other than fornicating.
Translated from Spanish by Megan Berkobien
By Alonso Sanchez Baute
If a queen cries an entire sea, she has to cry the Mediterranean or, at least, the Aegean
Translated from Spanish by George Henson
from “Edgard’s Lessons”
By Jean Sénac
Jean Sénac was an Algerian pied-noir poet, whose European heritage, open homosexuality, and advocacy of a native Algerian literature put him in conflict with the nascent Islamist government. …
Translated from French by Douglas Basford
Tree of Kisses
By Kim Bi
She wished she were blind so she couldn’t see the man mincing around, mimicking her father in a skirt.
Translated from Korean by Sora Kim-Russell & Eunjung Kwon-Lee
Snakes, Husbands, Ashalota, and Us
By Shaheen Akhtar
The rest of the night we refold our spread-open bodies dreaming snake-dreams.
Translated from Bengali by Shabnam Nadiya
The Christmas Tree
By Mabel Cuesta
We’re in a strange land and Christmas is nearing.
Translated from Spanish by Erica Mena
By Tin Moe
Words are imperfect signifiers  or a word is a perfect signifier I don't know yet Me and my language  are worlds apart. So I'd rather not use words. Unable to create understanding language…
Translated from Burmese by Maung Tha Noe
From “Pillar of Salt”
By Salvador Novo
Poet, journalist, critic, historian, editor, anthologist, and permanent “exile from respectable behavior,” Salvador Novo (1904-1974) is one of Mexico’s most distinctive and original…
Translated from Spanish by Marguerite Feitlowitz
The Hole in the Garden, Part IV
By Sakumi Tayama
The voice seemed to be coming from the pig.
Translated from Japanese by Mark Gibeau
The Rock and the Wave
By Myo Myint Swe
It’s war when we meet Then you retreat Foaming and fuming Swirling and fluming And I’m left Bereft again. I’m hunkered down While you roar and pound It’s war when we meet But when…
Translated from Burmese by Lyn Swe Aye
Before and After
By Lyn Swe Aye
After the rains Damp earth, jasmine.   After the storms Damp cheeks, no Jasmine.
Translated from Burmese by Lyn Swe Aye
I Think, in These Hours, of You, My Love
By Salvador Novo
I think, in these hours, of you, my love, burning as I do in merciless insomnia; wanting your eyes, seeking the curve of your hip, I feel the promises impressed by your lips. I repeat the ringing syllables…
Translated from Spanish by Marguerite Feitlowitz